ShareThis Page

Carnegie Mellon, Uber to collaborate to develop driverless vehicles

| Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, 7:08 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
The New York Times and other media are reporting Sunday, June 11, 2017, that Uber's board is considering placing Travis Kalanick, the CEO of the ride-hailing company, on leave.

Ride-share company Uber and Carnegie Mellon University will develop a research lab in Pittsburgh focused on developing self-driving vehicles and other technologies, company and university officials said Monday.

“We are excited to join the community of Pittsburgh and partner with the experts at CMU, whose breadth and depth of technical expertise, particularly in robotics, are unmatched,” said Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber.

In a joint statement, Uber and CMU said the Uber Advanced Technologies Center will be built near CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville. It will occupy portions of two nearby buildings, including the Geoffrey Boehm Chocolates building.

The company said its technology leaders will work with CMU faculty, staff and students, both on campus and at the robotics center, to develop “key long-term technologies that advance Uber's mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere.”

Uber will provide funding for faculty chairs and graduate fellowships at the Oakland school, Holden said during a conference call with reporters Monday night.

He declined to say how many jobs the center would generate, but he said Uber and Carnegie Mellon are collaborating.

Holden said the center primarily will house Uber employees, many with ties to CMU.

Uber and other ride-share companies connect passengers and drivers through Internet applications. Uber and Lyft faced pushback from legislators, regulators and established taxi and limo companies when they began service in Pennsylvania last year.

The announcement on Monday occurred about a week after the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission gave Uber permission to operate across the state, excluding Philadelphia, for at least the next two years. That approval did not resolve whether Uber should be subject to a proposed $19 million in fines for ignoring a cease-and-desist order.

“We are very excited by this development,” said Andrew Moore, dean of CMU's School of Computer Science. “We have a long history of being first in the world in robotics.”

Moore said the university looks forward to working with Uber on real-world applications that “offer very interesting new challenges at the intersections of technology, mobility and human interactions.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto described the effort as “another case where collaboration between the city and its universities is creating opportunities for job growth and community development.”

CMU is a leader in research on self-driving vehicles. In 2007, a self-driving sport utility vehicle the university developed with General Motors won a 60-mile road race sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The SUV, called “Boss,” maneuvered around the course at an average speed of 14 mph without any human intervention, en route to a $2 million prize. CMU maintains a research partnership with GM.

Moore said the GM partnership will “proceed as planned.”

“After so many years of being ‘Robo-Burg,' we're getting attention. It's a great opportunity,” said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

Tom Fontaine and Bobby Kerlik are Trib Total Media staff writers. Reach Fontaine at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com. Reach Kerlik at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.